Since I spent the opening of the last Guilty Crown post complaining about the OP being a whole load of tuneless noise and yelling, I should probably also mention how I quite like the Future Diary opening. Again there’s a whole load of noise, but it has a beat, while the vocals are loud enough that they don’t get drowned out by the background instruments. The imagery is neat too. Much like a zebra that has just met the business end of a submachine gun; it’s black and white and red all over. The whole crazy effect keeps in tune with the tone of the show too. Still prefer the Persona 4 OP and the Un-Go ED though. Oh look at me, pretending I know anything about music~
This episode of Future Diary has every nerds favourite plot element: Tragic Rape Backstory! That is, every nerds favourite subject to get pissy about the representation of. Parents brutally murdered in front of their eyes as a child? Meh, pretty regular backstory. Get raped when you’re younger? Oh dear, touchy territory. In all seriousness, rape does tend to be thrown in as a lazy method to create tragic backstories with minimal thought put into why it happens. Seeing Future Diary going that method was a bit worrying, especially since it’s not exactly the type of show that treats touchy subject matter with much delicacy. Mind you, if Black Lagoon, a story so pulpy that if it were orange juice it would be practically a solid, can do a story about what happens to the victims of child molestation with the level of brilliance it did, then we shouldn’t be holding Future Diary up to any lower level of scrutiny.
One of the reasons I loved the Hansel and Gretel arc of Black Lagoon was the idea of Sympathy for the Monster. These kids had their minds broken by what they had experienced and now this was the only way they could view the world. You can feel sympathy for how they reached that stage, but as they are now, they are monsters. Rock tries to get through to the kids, only to have his sympathy responded to in the only way the kids understand. It’s both a powerful and fucking creepy scene. Future Diary has something similar to this. Fifth is a broken person, her only wish now to rewrite the world to remove what she doesn’t like. But, right at the end, she gets a glimpse of the life she had forgotten with the little ball thrown by Yuuki. It’s a little bit convenient that Yuuki was able to find that very ball, but the scene shone that little light of humanity on her that had been erased through years of abuse.
Where Future Diary is perhaps a bit less impressive is how Fifth has grown up as a result from these years of abuse. Sorry to keep going back to Black Lagoon for those of you who haven’t watched it, but Hansel and Gretel’s new personalities make perfect sense in the context of what they had experienced. They had to teach themselves to enjoy killing, or else they wouldn’t have been able to go on. That’s the only way they know how to look at the world. Not so keen on Future Diary’s idea that Fifth now mocks people for their virginity and has sloppy erotic kisses to prove her point. The cult saw her as a tool, not something to be flirted with. It’s not like she was forced into prostitution and had to become slutty for the sake of keeping her sanity.
Back to rape again though, I understand where the nerd anger force comes from with that. The depiction of rape is often seen as something almost desirable, or that a female character deserves it because of how she dresses or how she acts. It’s good that that mindset is being attacked. But, like any counter movement, the reaction has shot too far in the opposite direction, to the point that the sheer mention of the subject gets everyone’s hackles raised. I’ve seen it introduced in incredibly lazy and slapdash fashion, such as Fractale, but I can’t think of any incredibly offensive portrayals I’ve seen of it off the top of my head. But that’s probably because I don’t read shoujo or yaoi, where the ‘rape = love’ thing is more prevalent. Actually wait, I take it back. I have seen one. Honey X Honey Drops. A goddawful shoujo OVA that is a prime target for a terribad video if I ever got around to making them again.
Just to finish off, the post-credit scene with Sixth was the highlight of the whole episode. Speaking of Sympathy for the Monster, I loved how they characterised him as someone who just wanted to help society in the only way he knew how. Once you get this revelation, his part in the story suddenly becomes a lot more tragic. He was genuinely only trying to help people; albeit in a not particularly moral way (turning people into zombies strikes me as being rather low down on the moral ladder). Plus it was all done via crudely made puppets, Asread showing the real extent of their budget limitations. It’s becoming a running trend in Future Diary. No matter how psychotic, each of these characters has something that makes them sympathetic.